Exonsampler: A computer program for genome-wide and candidate gene exon sampling for targeted next-generation sequencing

Ted Cosart, Albano Beja-Pereira, Gordon Luikart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The computer program exonsampler automates the sampling of thousands of exon sequences from publicly available reference genome sequences and gene annotation databases. It was designed to provide exon sequences for the efficient, next-generation gene sequencing method called exon capture. The exon sequences can be sampled by a list of gene name abbreviations (e.g. IFNG, TLR1), or by sampling exons from genes spaced evenly across chromosomes. It provides a list of genomic coordinates (a bed file), as well as a set of sequences in fasta format. User-adjustable parameters for collecting exon sequences include a minimum and maximum acceptable exon length, maximum number of exonic base pairs (bp) to sample per gene, and maximum total bp for the entire collection. It allows for partial sampling of very large exons. It can preferentially sample upstream (5 prime) exons, downstream (3 prime) exons, both external exons, or all internal exons. It is written in the Python programming language using its free libraries. We describe the use of exonsampler to collect exon sequences from the domestic cow (Bos taurus) genome for the design of an exon-capture microarray to sequence exons from related species, including the zebu cow and wild bison. We collected ~10% of the exome (~3 million bp), including 155 candidate genes, and ~16 000 exons evenly spaced genomewide. We prioritized the collection of 5 prime exons to facilitate discovery and genotyping of SNPs near upstream gene regulatory DNA sequences, which control gene expression and are often under natural selection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1296-1301
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular Ecology Resources
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Bioinformatics
  • Exon capture
  • Exon sequences
  • Next-generation sequencing


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